Katie Jayne Tutors
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Fuelling your child’s brain for school

This week we have our guest blogger for Katie Jayne Tutors, Clare Jeffries from Healthy Influence talking to us about fuelling your child’s brain for school…

Your child’s developing brain needs a balanced supply of fuel (sugar) and essential healthy fats (the brain is made of 60% fat) to function at its best.

Balancing blood sugar

by keeping ‘fast release sugars’ such as sweets, biscuits, cakes, chocolate, refined cereals and white breads to a minimum and ensuring your child eats little and often will ensure the brain receives an even supply of fuel. Too much sugar and your child may be hyperactive and find it difficult to concentrate, whilst too little sugar and they may feel too tired or irritable to concentrate.

Balanced breakfast is a key factor!

It is essential to have a good start, especially in young children, when their more structured learning is mostly carried out in the morning. Without a slow energy release breakfast, they may get too hungry or have inadequate fuel for the brain to concentrate and learn effectively.

A healthy balanced breakfast should include a mix of complex or unrefined carbohydrate(porridge, muesli, wholemeal cereals or bread or fruit) and some protein(eggs, baked beans, chopped nuts, seeds, full fat yoghurt or milk).

Great breakfast ideas for your child brain:
  • Porridge made with whole milk with mashed banana and a tablespoon of ground almonds or flaxseed powder stirred through
  • Fresh fruit (banana or berries) and natural yoghurt with a little honey or maple syrup and chopped hazelnuts sprinkled on top
  • Wholemeal toast with baked beans or scrambled eggs, or even mashed avocado if your child is adventurous!
  • Boiled egg and soldiers

Best to avoid sugary refined and overly processed cereals and white bread or very sweet yoghurt, as this will give your child a ‘sugar rush’ first thing instead of a balanced supply of sugar to the brain, leaving them hungry after an hour or so. One bowl of sugar-frosted cornflakes can contain nearly 4 teaspoons of sugar!

Brains are made of fat!

Essential fats are vital for brain formation and allowing the cells to communicate effectively. Numerous scientific studies have linked inadequate essential fats in a child’s diet to lower IQ’s and learning or behavioural disorders. So ensure your child is consuming the following on a regular basis:

  • Oily fish(Salmon, mackerel, sardines) — good with pasta or in a fish pie or tinned mackerel in tomato sauce in sandwiches or as a quick pasta sauce.
  • Nuts and Seeds — given whole as a snack or ground and mixed in cereals, soups or casseroles, chopped nuts added to home-made cakes or biscuits
  • Avocado on toast or crackers or made into a dip with breads

Many thanks to Clare Jeffries for your great advice